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Explain One Klay: Thompson's ten threes

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Video breakdown of Klay Thompson's ten three-pointers from the Warriors win against the Pacers on Dec 8, 2015.

Klay Thompson in a rare non-shooting motion.
Klay Thompson in a rare non-shooting motion.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This is one article out of a series of Explain One Play articles. For the full updated index, go to The Explain One Play series index.


Klay Thompson can shoot too.

Here is the story of his ten threes tonight, which consist of a small number of plays mixed with much early offense and some crazy broken plays for flavor.

Q1.08:28. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (3 PTS) Assist: Rush (1 AST)

The Warriors push the ball up in early offense to catch the defense before they can set up.  Good find by Brandon Rush, finding Klay who just outraced everyone to the corner. Notice Curry walked up the other side barely making it to half court when the shot goes up.


Q1.07:34. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (6 PTS)

Klay brings the ball up and his defender inexplicably gives him a lot of space. He pulls up for 3.

Q1.05:23. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (12 PTS) Assist: Iguodala (1 AST)

Hey, an actual play! First Klay feeds Andre Iguodala in the post and Klay immediately crosses with Draymond Green and flares out off his screen. Pop quiz: recognize this play?

It's the grand daddy of the Warriors scheme, the first play put in in 2014 preseason, what I call post-cross, others call post-splits, triangle guard squeeze, etc. Past explanation here.) I can't tell what Andre was thinking here, whether he loses the ball, it gets deflected on the way to Klay, or if he thought Green was cutting to the hoop.

The ball takes a lucky bounce, Green tries out his new floater (nope) and Bogut taps out very skillfully. Bogut looked like as energetic as start-of-season Bogut for the first time since his injury. Andre gets it, feeds Klay on the arc via what looks a lot like a travel. His defender gives him a foot of space and BAM.


Q1.01:30. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (17 PTS) Assist: Curry (4 AST)

Early offense again. Off a made basket, the Warriors push the ball up. Curry throws a nice pass finding Klay at the perfect angle to fire a quick pull-up three. What is there to say? Notice James McAdoo's version of the three-shotgun celebration, where he ends it by breaking the three shotgun over his knee. Seems like a waste of a good shotgun; McAdoo has got to be more efficient.


Q2.03:31. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (20 PTS) Assist: Green (3 AST)

Hey, another play! This one is worth calling out. It's spiritually similar to the post-cross play, in that a "post" player gets the ball and the two wing shooters screen for each other. The difference is that the post player isn't in the post, he's up high, in theory dragging his man high and opening space near the basket.


I believe this is from the D'Antoni "Delay" series which featured David Lee as a Knick pre-Chipotle, but I can't track down video yet. Here is a very good old Ric Bucher(!!) breakdown of the play. Here's a version of it from the early Kerr Warriors. Klay feeds Bogut in the high "post", then screens for Curry.

Q2.02:04. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (23 PTS)

Pop Quiz: Recognize the play?

It's your basic Floppy. (Past discussion here.) Curry and Klay orbit each other under the basket and then bolt out on opposite sides, each using a screen. Klay's defender Paul George does a fine job staying with Klay and even deflecting the ball and almost getting a steal. His reward is Klay's canning an open three, with what looks like a four-step-travel.


Q2.01:31. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (26 PTS) Assist: Curry (5 AST)

Curry tries to push this up into an early-offense high pick and roll with Draymond (their favorite - past discussion here), but it's broken up pretty well.

Paul George stares down Curry on the perimeter. I'm sure Curry was tempted to try to take him one-on-one. Instead...


Curry raises his hand, and Draymond screens off-ball for Klay, and he gets for him an open three.

One of the points of emphasis of Warriors Next Level offense is to not immediately ISO when there is a mismatch. Instead, play your offense and let the mismatches result in bad defense. Here, Paul George switches on to Curry, so Curry's man George Hill is now guarding Draymond Green. He isn't used to guarding bigs. Instead of running isolation and having Draymond post up Hill, Green just screens. Little guys like Hill don't practice guarding the screener, the practice guarding the ballhandler. Here Hill realizes a second too late that the Warriors are running Delay (compare above Q 2.3:31) and he lets Klay free for three.

Did You Notice? Andre Iguodala is so confident (on the top) that the three is going in, that he assumes Crane Kick Stance from the Karate Kid.


Q2.00:50.2. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (29 PTS) Assist: Curry (6 AST)

What a mess of a play. The Pacers mess up a break by fumbling the ball away. Andrew Bogut hustles and does this crazy thing.


Curry has an ultra-open three. He gives up to Klay. That's Splash Brotherly Love. Plus some Andre confidence:


Q3.05:51. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (34 PTS)

Okay, we skip ahead well into the third period. The Warriors alternate between alley-oop dunks and futilely trying to set up Klay for 3. This is just a straight up heat check with Paul George not that far away but with hands down. But in the words of the Immortal Sage, "Hand down, man down!" Heat confirmed.



Q3.05:33. K Thompson 3pt Shot: Made (37 PTS) Assist: Curry (8 AST)

Completely classic early offense. What's the play?

Curry pushes the ball up into an early high pick-and-roll with Draymond (more discussion here). Paul George collapses unnecessarily, so Klay is open in the corner. Three.


Bonus Reel

The Dawk Ins Highlight Reel:


This is one article out of a series of Explain One Play articles. For the full updated index, go to The Explain One Play series index.

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